It was about a year ago that a friend and I got to talking about sauerkraut, of all things. She had made some and then was nice enough to bring a jar in for me. It was awesome! Being the wild and crazy empty nester that I am, I decided right then that I wanted to add cabbage to our garden this year, specifically to make sauerkraut. Hubby was totally on board.
I opted for Gunma from Fedco Seeds after reading all of the descriptions. The resulting cabbages were HUGE!!! We had four of these suckers!
My friend loaned us her Ball Canning book when it was time to shred. Sounded pretty simple, but it was a LOT of shredding.
As I shredded each batch, hubby salted it. I guess I didn’t realize that sauerkraut is simply cabbage and salt left on its own to do its thing.
There are quite a few ways to ferment the cabbage into sauerkraut, we opted for jars. Thanks to my friend, Beth, who gave me many jars of grain to grind, there were a few large ones in the house. Hubby smashed the cabbage down into the jars while I still continued to shred.
Once we filled four jars, we used cheesecloth to cover the cabbage and sewing weights in sandwich bags to hold the cheesecloth down.
Time to stink up the house! Every few days we removed the scum that formed, but otherwise, it was low maintenance. Fast forward to five weeks later. We used the smaller three jars this morning for the first batch of canning. We need to get some more small jars in order to do the rest.
We tried the “raw” sauerkraut, but it definitely has a different taste, neither of us was super excited about it. We again followed the directions from the Ball Canning book and cooked the cabbage until simmering.
Ta-da! And I can tell you, as we dropped sauerkraut everywhere and ate the dropped blops trying to get it into the smaller jars, that it is crazy delicious.
As soon as we have time, we’ll do the rest. It will be interesting to see if a few days more of fermentation makes any difference in the taste. It’s definitely going to be an every year thing!
Special note: As an early anniversary/holiday gift, we picked out a fancy camera for beginners. Hopefully it will improve the pictures on the blog…once I actually learn to use it.